After eight days, five hours and approximately 20 minutes, Christian "Chrigel" Maurer has further established himself as a legend of paragliding and adventure racing by capturing his fourth consecutive Red Bull X-Alps victory. He traveled nearly 1,277 miles by flight and foot from Salzburg, Austria, to Monaco.
In a race that saw his lead contested for the first time, the Swiss pilot put the hammer down after Annecy, rocketing south toward the Mediterranean at uncatchable air speeds. Although considered by many to be unbeatable, Maurer gave ground early at this year's race, which offered glimpses of hope for both veteran Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) and rookie Sebastien Huber (GER3), who are now battling for second place.
Maurer's win is just one more record in the logbook for Switzerland, the country that has produced every single winning pilot of Red Bull X-Alps. It must be something in that rare mountain air — air that treated Maurer well today.
"Today was a good day," he says. "This final flight was the best of the whole race, because I was able to fly right to the Turnpoint, and fly above the clouds. I landed next to the golf course right at the edge of the clouds!"
While Chrigel has claimed the top spot, the race is still on. Athletes, spread out over hundreds of miles, are battling to stay in the coveted top 10 and make it to the finish in Monaco, completing one of the greatest adventures of their lives.